ATOP THE TROPOSPHERE ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the story of a pilot stranded in the Sahara Desert who meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny planet. The prince famously and absurdly asks the stranded pilot, “Please…Draw me a sheep.” From 1926 until his...
ATOP THE TROPOSPHERE
‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the story of a pilot stranded in the Sahara Desert who meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny planet. The prince famously and absurdly asks the stranded pilot, “Please…Draw me a sheep.”
From 1926 until his death in 1944, Saint-Exupéry experienced the world from above over longer distances than others before him. His novels and memoirs are replete with descriptions of mountains, oceans, deserts, rivers, and storms.
This series of high altitude aerial photographs from the upper boundary of the troposphere, around thirty-five thousand feet, offers a perspective of our modern world influenced by Saint-Exupéry. With altitude, the tree disappears in the forest, but the forest appears out of the trees; with even higher altitude the forest gives way to networks of forests and fields. From that ideal height, the beauty of the natural world combines with man-made features to form mesmerizing scenes.
As an airline pilot, Saint-Exupéry helped connect people from across the world separated by almost insurmountable obstacles and vast expanses of wilderness. Today, however, more than ninety years after Saint-Exupéry first flew, clearly visible from high above is the enormous impact humanity has had on its environment through large scale alterations of the land. It is not the case any longer that we live on isolated islands of civilization; we live in an interconnected network of infrastructures covering entire continents. As human population relentlessly grows, only the most arid and rugged regions appear to be awaiting Mankind’s new design.
Saint-Exupéry explains in ‘The Little Prince’, that there were “about two billion grown-ups.” Today, Earth is home to seven and a half billion of us. The little prince left a planet that was too small to sustain him – an option we don’t have. He cared for his one rose and his three volcanoes as we should for everything that makes Earth our only home.
Cloud, Fry Canyon, Utah
Alluvial Fan, near Mobile, Arizona
Oil and Gas Wells, near Midland, Texas
Fields, Landcaster County, Pennsylvania
Fields, Center, Colorado
Kings Canyon #2, Sierra Nevada, California
Bear River, Utah
Missouri River & Omaha, Nebraska
Melting Ice Sheet, Lake Michigan, Michigan
San Francisco #2, California